Collections: Special Collections
The Archives' Special Collections include:
Mabel Abbott Collection
Materials from the research and career of Staten Island Museum Curator of History Mabel Abbott. Prior to her work as a curator Miss Abbott was a journalist and freelance writer. The collection encompasses her research on William T. Davis, George W. Curtis and other literary figures and journalists, historic Staten Island houses, and Polly Bodine. Photos of Staten Island neighborhoods taken from the mid to late 1920s are also included.
Nine bound ledgers consisting of notes and interviews conducted with Staten Islanders between 1840 and 1865. They hold reminiscences of the Revolutionary War period on Staten Island. Subjects covered include the war itself, slavery, farming, industries, and Staten Island family histories.
The finding aid for Anthon's Notes can be found here.
Spanning the years 1962 to the present, the collection consists of correspondence with both professional and amateur archeologists, site surveys, reports from digs, and a catalogue of the Staten Island Museum’s archeological specimens held within the Science Department.
The Archaeology Papers finding aid can be found here.
Holdings include architectural street surveys, photos, and research conducted in the late 1970s; mounted exhibit prints and text panels; New York City Landmark Preservation Commission reports; and reference books, finding aids and indexes. A sub-group of secondary source material on the work of John Merven Carrere and Thomas Hastings can also be consulted.
The Architecture Collection finding aid can be found here.
Small artifacts relative to Staten Island history that includes strong representations in volunteer fire-fighting, the medical community, business and industry, photography, the military, and Staten Island organizations are featured.
Athletic Clubs Collection
Comprised of schedules, rosters, award ribbons, scorecards, by-laws, advertisements, ground plans and newspaper articles relative to the Staten Island Athletic Club and the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Clubs. Lesser known clubs are also represented.
Belles Lettres Society Papers
Minutes, newspaper clippings, administrative records, letters, event programs, and scrapbooks focusing on one of Staten Island’s oldest literary organizations are within this collection. Founded in 1924, the Society is still active today.
A collection of letters, correspondence, memorials, and clippings from 1851 to the present, that are concerned with important Staten Islanders and historic people who lived on or were associated with the island. Aaron Burr, Erastus Brooks, Isaac Almstaedt, Edwin Markham, and others are represented.
The Biographies Collection finding aid can be found here.
Nathaniel Lord Britton Papers
A botanist, and author, Dr. Britton was born on Staten Island and was a member of one of the island’s oldest families. He was a founder of what became the Staten Island Museum and the New York Botanical Garden. Genealogical material relative to the Brittons is included, as is information on botanical studies conducted by Dr. Britton. The work of his wife Gertrude Knight Britton, a noted expert on mosses, can also be consulted.
The Nathaniel Lord Britton Papers finding aid can be found here.
Business and Industry on Staten Island Collection
A variety of businesses, industries, and banks can be analyzed through letters, artifacts, directories, business records, product catalogues, price lists, newspaper articles, advertisements, photographs, brochures, booklets, constitutions and by-laws, receipts and other relative documents.
The Business and Industry on Staten Island finding aid can be found here.
Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Collection
Programs, yearbooks, annual reports, photographs, event programs, advertisements, bulletins, newspaper clippings, newsletters, membership guides, and information relative to the annual building awards program are included. This material dates from the Chamber’s founding in 1895 to the present.
James Paul Chapin Papers
A A world renowned ornithologist, Dr. James P. Chapin’s early natural history studies were focused on Staten Island. He went on to become an African explorer and an expert on the Congo Peacock, as well as the Curator of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. President of the Staten Island Museum’s Board of Directors, Dr. Chapin maintained a lifelong interest in the Museum’s activities and welfare until his death in 1964.
The James Paul Chapin Papers finding aid can be found here.
John J. Crooke Papers
Covering the period between 1861 and 1911, this collection focuses on the studies and career of essayist, photographer, scientist, inventor, industrialist, and engineer John J. Crooke. Geographical areas included within this collection focus not only on Staten Island, but also the remainder of New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Illinois. References to Germany, Belgium, London, and Paris are also noted.
The John J. Crooke Papers finding aid can be found here.
Jasper Cropsey Collection
Biographical information and related notes about this famous Staten Island painter and architect are archived, as is information on the Cropsey family and their Staten Island forebears. The collection covers the years 1856 through 1979, and includes exhibition and auction catalogues relative to Cropsey’s work.
The Jasper Cropsey Collection finding aid can be found here.
George William Curtis Papers
Holdings include photographs, journals, correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, and histories relative to this journalist, essayist, editor, politician and public servant who lived on Staten Island from 1856 until his death in 1892.
The George William Curtis Papers finding aid can be found here.
William T. Davis Papers
Staten Island’s leading naturalist and historian, William T. Davis was an entomologist with a world renowned expertise in the periodical cicada. This collection holds letters, photographs, transcripts, journals, correspondence, notebooks, personal information and family albums relative to his life and work, as well as important research information on local history.
The William T. Davis Papers finding aid can be found here.
Since it’s founding as the Natural Science Association in 1881, the Staten Island Museum has collected maps, documents, reports, photographs, transcripts, scrapbooks, and other ephemera that document the environment. Much of the collection focuses on Staten Island, but other New York City boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey are also covered. Spanning the years 1857 to the present, the collection focuses on conservation, pollution, environmental activists and organizations, and related subjects.
The Environmental Collection finding aid can be found here.
Ferries and Railroads Papers
This collection includes business material, correspondence, memoranda, ledgers, legal agreements, contracts, court cases, reports, programs, invitations, maps, clippings, photographs and ephemera pertaining to the various ferry and railroad companies located on and around Staten Island from 1722 to the present. A vast portion of the collection focuses on the Staten Island Ferry run from Saint George to Whitehall, Manhattan, which began in 1886, and continues today.
The Ferries and Railroads Papers finding aid can be found here.
Flora of Richmond County Collection
Papers, manuscripts, and research material deposited and written by Dr. Arthur Hollick and Dr. Nathaniel Lord Britton that focus on a flora study conducted from the second decade of the twentieth century through 1929. Annotated copies of their 1879 study are included.
The Flora of Richmond County Collection finding aid can be found here.
Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transgender Community of Staten Island Collection
Documents, minutes, newsletters, memoranda, photographs, and clippings relative to Lambda Associates of Staten Island. Formed in 1982, the organization focused on social, educational, health, and political activities for the GBLT community. Additional clippings, flyers, and pamphlets focusing on the GBLT community for the period of 2003 through 2007 are also included.
The GBLT Community of Staten Island Collection finding aid can be found here.
Genealogies: Staten Island Families Collection
Holds information gleaned from various family records, especially family bibles, by William T. Davis, Charles W. Leng, Edward C. Delavan, and Mabel Abbott. Inclusive dates are the seventeenth century through 1970, family names are listed alphabetically and feature well known Staten Island families.
The Genealogies of Staten Island Families Collection finding aid can be found here.
Geology of Staten Island Collection
Manuscript, typescripts, and printed materials from 1881 to the present, that provide a systematic and historic source for the study of Staten Island geology. Investigations into geologic formations, biographies of geologists, and rare copies of Louis Pope Gratacap’s Geology of the City of New York are within the holdings.
The Geology of Staten Island Collection finding aid can be found here.
High Rock Park Conservation Center Collection
Established as an area for nature study, High Rock Park was under the supervision of the Staten Island Museum when it was founded in 1965. This collection consists of administrative papers, program information, photographs, newsletters, and natural history records through 1980.
The High Rock Park Conservation Center Collection finding aid can be found here.
Charles Arthur Hollick Papers
Holds material of Dr. Frederick Hollick, a physician and teacher, and the papers of his son Charles, more commonly known as Arthur. Dr. Arthur Hollick was a founder of what is now the Staten Island Museum, a Director of the Museum, a paleobotanist, geologist, and a sanitary engineer for the New York Board of Health. Items relative to these specialties and his family are included, as is material relating to history, hydrology, and climate.
The Charles Arthur Hollick Papers finding aid can be found here.
Balthazar Kreischer Papers
Brick maker Balthazar Kreischer established a factory on the Arthur Kill River in 1854, at what was then Androvetteville. Additional land to mine the rich clay deposits of the area was purchased in conjunction with the manufacture of these bricks. The collection holds deeds, wills, bills, maps, artifacts, stocks, patents, photographs, and more relative to the Kreischer family businesses and their personal lives.
The Balthazar Kreischer Papers finding aid can be found here.
Deeds, catalogues of mortgages, inventories, leases, and conveyances relating mainly to Staten Island properties from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century are included. Some of the names involved with these papers are Edmund Andros, Jacques Guyon, Thomas Dongan, Paulus Richards, Rev. Aeneas Mackenzie, Thomas E. Davis, Suzette Grymes and others.
The Land Papers finding aid can be found here.
Map and Atlas Collection
Maps range in dates from 1639 to the present day. Many are originals and are of historic or environmental importance. Hand-drawn, colored detail maps, surveys, topographical, geological, street, transportation, oceanic, land use, vegetative, and realtor maps are included in the collection. Staten Island comprises the majority of the collection, but upstate New York and New Jersey are well represented.
Consists of bound, loose, clipped, transcribed, and microfilmed newspapers. Clipped and transcribed newspapers articles reach back to the mid-nineteenth century with strong representations from 1990 through 2010. Founded in 1886, the Richmond County Advance, now the Staten Island Advance is available on microfilm from its founding through 1997. Other microfilmed newspapers from the 1840s onward include the Richmond County Gazette, the Staten Islander, the Richmond Borough Advertiser, Richmond County Mirror, Times-Transcript, Sentinel, the New York Times, and others.
The Newspaper Collection finding aid can be found here.
Staten Island History Pamphlets
A treasure trove of publications from the 1700s through the present day that provide insight into various subjects relative to Staten Island history. Publications are authored by Ira K. Morris, Charles W. Leng, Erastus Brooks, Cornelius Kolff, and some of the leading public information organizations of their time including S. L. Judson, the Staten Island Amusement Company, and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
The Staten Island History Pamphlets finding aid can be found here.
Charles W. Leng Papers
An author, entomologist, historian, and a founder of both the Natural Science Association (now the Staten Island Museum) and the Brooklyn Entomological Society, Charles W. Leng also served as the Museum’s director from 1919 until his death in 1941. He was also the Staten Island Borough Historian from 1919 until the mid-1930s, and was co-author of the five volume series Staten Island and Its People. Mr. Leng’s expertise in beetles led to the publication of A Catalogue of the Coleoptera of America, North of Mexico. The Charles W. Leng Collection consists of letter, photographs, scrapbooks, and manuscripts. Much of this material is relative to the history of the military and genealogy as they relate to Staten Island.
The Charles W. Leng Papers finding aid can be found here.
Albert Melniker Collection
Staten Island’s most prolific architect, Albert Melniker spent more then sixty years working with city agencies, religious institutions, financial entities, the medical community, business and industry, and educational entities in planning and designing hundreds of Staten Island structures. This collection consists of drawings, photographs, blueprints, correspondence, and maps from the 1920s through the late 1990s. The bulk of the material dates from Mr. Melniker’s most prolific years: the 1950s through the 1990s.
The Albert Melniker Collection finding aid can be found here.
A phenomenal collection of material relating to Staten Island during the eras of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Narratives, enlistment records, militia muster rolls, recruitment records, government publications, photographs and other ephemera are included.
The Military Records finding aid can be found here.
Charitable, cultural, fraternal, and political organizations are represented in this collection through artifacts, letters, newspaper articles, constitutions and by-laws, yearbooks, posters, articles, logs, pamphlets, photographs, and annual reports. A concentration of documents relative to the Mariner’s Family Home, the Volunteer Firemen’s Association, the Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, the Staten Island Chamber Music Players, the Staten Island Women’s Club, and the Staten Island Zoo exists.
The Organizations Collction finding aid can be found here.
Hugh Powell Collection
Houses a varied collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and documents relative to Staten Island history. Mr. Powell’s vast research into Staten Island during World War II, local iconography, Princes Bay, inns and hotels, and military history are included. The Hugh Powell Postcard Collection is an important sub-collection. It features representations from every aspect of Staten Island’s past while focusing on neighborhoods, schools, resorts, transportation, architecture, historic sites, famous people, recreation, and more.
The Hugh Powell Collection finding aid can be found here.
Staten Island Parks Collection
Features correspondence, documents, plans, surveys, and maps relative to the parks movement of the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century on Staten Island. The effort to establish the Staten Island Greenbelt and the establishment of High Rock Park are strongly represented, as are Silver Lake, Clove Lake, Latourette, Wolfe’s Pond, the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation Area and Clay Pit Ponds Parks. Information on small neighborhood parks, playgrounds, plazas, and esplanades is also prominent.
The Staten Island Parks Collection finding aid can be found here.
One of the Archive’s most important research collections, the Planning Collection holds reports, analysis, proposals, studies, and photographs relative to infrastructure, parks, garbage disposal, housing, the waterfront, urban renewal, and schools. Individuals and groups noted in the collection include Robert Moses, the United States Navy, the Parks Council, the United States Army Engineers, the South Richmond Task Force, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Civic Congress of Staten Island.
The Planning Collection finding aid can be found here.
Consisting of mainly primary materials, this collection holds manuscripts letters, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, and prints relative to a Quarantine Station that operated on and near Staten Island from 1799 until the 1920s. Documentation of and subsequent lawsuits relative to the removal of the original Quarantine Station at Tompkinsville by community protest, and finally by fire, in 1858, figures prominently in this assemblage.
The Quarantine Collection can be found here.
Richmond County Papers
Documents in these collections range from the seventeenth century (including the period of English rule) to the twentieth century. Justice of the Peace, Police, District Attorney, Town Supervisors, and County Coroner records are included. Inquest statements, treasurer and taxation papers, and files relative to the county Poor House are a small sampling of what has been preserved.
The Richmond County Papers finding aid can be found here.
Richmond Borough Records
With the consolidation of the City of New York in 1895, the county of Richmond also became a borough of New York City. Records of Richmond Borough, more commonly called Staten Island, located in this collection include: annual reports, photographs, meeting notices, bulletins, census information, infrastructure drawings, transportation studies, inspectors and engineer surveys, weather statistics, and scrapbooks. Information on and from Borough Presidents, members of Congress, the New York State Senate, uniformed services, and others can also be consulted..
Sailors’ Snug Harbor Collection
Maps, prints, photographs, surveys, postcards, architectural plans from 1833 to the present can be analyzed by researchers. Opened in 1833 as a retirement home for seamen who were no longer able to work, the site is today known as the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Museums, art galleries, artist and dance studios, the Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, and the Staten Island Botanical Garden are now located on this campus.
The Sailors' Snug Harbor Collection finding aid can be found here.